Blackboard: Reusable Objects

Introduction

Reusable Objects allow you to store in a central location (the Blackboard  Fileshare) pieces of content which you regularly use on a variety of Blackboard  courses. Moreover, you can update the Reusable Object in the Fileshare and the content will be updated in every course where it has been made available.

Reusable Objects are thus a good way to maintain and update content which needs to be made available on multiple courses – perhaps even on every course in a Department or School – but which might need to be updated at various points during the academic year. Examples might include Health and Safety guidance, School and Support Centre staff contact details, or information from central teams such as Careers and the Library.

How to create a Reusable Object

Although you can create a Reusable Object anywhere in the Fileshare, they are best saved in a suitable area within the Institution Content area. Not all staff have write access to their School’s folder in the institutional Fileshare – if you require access to create Reusable Objects, please speak to your DTL, or staff in the Student Support Centre.

In any area where you do have write access, you will see Build listed as a menu item. Click here and then – for most purposes – on HTML Object.

View of the file share showing the drop down 'Build' menu, clicking HTML object

 

The familiar Blackboard  editing screen will appear. Create your content item just as you would within a course.

View of the Blackboard text editor screen

Press Submit when done.

The item will be saved as an HTML file in the Fileshare.

View of submitted object in the fileshare list
When you need to edit the Reusable Object, simply select Edit in Blackboard from the contextual menu.

Edit grey chevron with drop down menu , highlighting 'Edit in Blackboard'

Inserting the Reusable Object into a course

Create an Item in your course as usual. To insert content from a Reusable Object, click on the Attach File (paperclip) icon.

Highlighting the Paper Clip attach file icon in the Blackboard text editor

A new window opens. Click on Browse Content Collection.

Select content link, attach file menu

Browse to the area where your Reusable Object is stored.

View of Fileshare Browse drop down menu
Once you have located it, tick the checkbox nest to the filename, then press Submit.

Selecting the file to attach in the Content Collection list
You are returned to the ‘Insert Content Link’ screen. Accept all the defaults and press Submit to return to the main Blackboard window.

View of uploaded file and permissions options

The inserted content will appear as a link within the editing area.

View of Blackboard text editor with the object in.
However, when you submit, the full content is displayed on screen.

Showing the green success message when object created

You can include your own text – customised as appropriate for each specific Blackboard course – both before and after the generic content included in the Reusable Object.

View of Blackboard text editor showing the own text around reusable object

Showing reusable object and text in a course content area

The great advantage of using Reusable Objects in this way is that, when you need to update the content, you do this just once, in the Fileshare – and the information is immediately updated in all courses where that Reusable Object has been inserted.

You could in fact insert multiple ‘placeholder’ Reusable Objects within your courses at the start of the year, and expand and update the content within them as the year progresses.